Ohio enhanced online registry may still have holes

The online registry of DUI offenders with 5 or more DUI convictions which was enhanced by the State of Ohio might not be totally trustworthy.

Last week, it was announced by the state Department of Public Safety that it has expanded the registry of drivers who consumed alcohol or any other intoxicant and got behind the wheel five or more times in the past 20 years.

According to the spokeswoman for the State Highway Patrol, Staff Lt. Anne Ralston, the names of 5,331 DUI offenders are listed in the registry, compared with fewer than 400 before the rollout of the updated database.

The system was improved by collecting information from computerized court records rather than relying on the submission of paper forms by DUI offenders who habitually drive their vehicles after consuming too much alcohol or taking drugs that affect the thinking ability of a person, said officials.

This year, the Advocate of Newark reported that the DUI-offender registry contained information from courts from only 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties, was cluttered with duplicate listings and the names of some offenders were not included.

The registry now contains the names of 597 repeat offenders with 5 or more convictions in Franklin and surrounding counties. Franklin County shows 389 repeat DUI offenders, up from 15 almost 2 months ago. 7 drivers are listed with 8 DUI convictions. The online listing of drivers who regularly consume alcohol and get arrested for driving under the influence was authorized by lawmakers to allow Ohioans to check whether their neighbors or other individuals they know can be harmed by them in any sense.

The question is raised in a review by The Dispatch of Columbus-area offenders on the enhanced state website that whether the 2 offenders with the most DUI convictions qualify as central Ohio residents. They also found some offenders not included in the list.

Since 1997, 51-year-old Matthew J. Krendl with 10 DUI convictions will appear to be arrested as the worst offender in central Ohio. His name is listed among Delaware County offenders with an address in Powell. No Delaware County conviction among Krendl’s offenses is shown by the court records. According to the other records, he lives in Allen County and lists convictions from Allen, Cuyahoga and Putnam counties.

32-year-old Tom L. Shafer is also listed in Fairfield County’s list of offenders with 10 DUI convictions. His home address turns out to be the address of the state prison near Lancaster. He is serving for almost 5 years for convictions in Clinton and Greene counties — in the Madison Correctional Institution near London.

The addresses listed in the registry come from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and court records, said Ralston.

51-year-old Mike E. Sayers appears to be the area’s worst offender in Fairfield County. He has been convicted for DUI between 1995 and 2012 nine times. He is now serving a prison sentence of four years for driving drunk in Licking County.

A Newark lawyer and member of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ DUI committee, Rob Calesaric said the registry serves only to publicly brand repeat offenders with a “scarlet letter”. He said, “It’s a PR stunt. It needs to be accurate. It’s basically a waste of taxpayer money,” because it is unofficial and cannot be used by police or prosecutors to pursue charges. He also said the registry shows that the 14 worst offenders in Licking County each have 6 DUI convictions. “I have represented people with more than 10 (convictions), and it seems you have not found them. It’s obviously incomplete”.

Drivers convicted of 3 or more DUIs within the time period of 6 years, or five or more over twenty years, face up to 5 years in prison, a maximum $10,500 fine, mandatory forfeiture of their vehicle and a lifetime driver’s license suspension.

News Source: www.Dispatch.com